2011 Rugby World Cup Final

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2011 Rugby World Cup Final
Eden Park panorama.jpg
Event 2011 Rugby World Cup
Date 23 October 2011
Venue Eden Park, Auckland
Man of the Match Thierry Dusautoir (France)
Referee Craig Joubert (South Africa)[1]
Attendance 61,079

The 2011 Rugby World Cup Final was a rugby union match between France and New Zealand, to determine the winner of 2011 Rugby World Cup. The match took place on 23 October 2011 at Eden Park, in Auckland, New Zealand, which was won 8–7 by New Zealand and thus won the World Cup.

New Zealand were considered to be favourites, as they went into the final unbeaten and the French had lost two pool games, including one to New Zealand.[2] The French team also experienced a player revolt against their coach Marc Lièvremont, confirmed after the tournament by veteran back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy.[3] The match was a close-fought and tight contest with few line-breaks. Each side scored one try and the outcome was determined by kicks – the All Blacks kicked a penalty goal whereas the French managed only the conversion of their try. The result was the lowest score of any final in World Cup history.

The match echoed the 1987 Rugby World Cup Final which was also held at Eden Park between the same teams, and also the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final in that both teams had progressed from the same pool. In the 2011 pool stage, France lost to New Zealand and Tonga, and it was only Canada's previous upset 25–20 victory over Tonga that allowed the French to progress. New Zealand won every match it played in the tournament.

New Zealand's victory marked the first time that a nation had held the World Cup and Women's Rugby World Cup, as the Black Ferns had held their title since 1998.

Path to the final[edit]

France Round New Zealand
Opponent Result Pool stage Opponent Result
 Japan 47–21 Match 1  Tonga 41–10
 Canada 46–19 Match 2  Japan 83–7
 New Zealand 17–37 Match 3  France 37–17
 Tonga 14–19 Match 4  Canada 79–15
Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 36 240 49 +191 4 20
 France 4 2 0 2 13 124 96 +28 3 11
 Tonga 4 2 0 2 7 80 98 −18 1 9
 Canada 4 1 1 2 9 82 168 −86 0 6
 Japan 4 0 1 3 8 69 184 −115 0 2
Final standing
Pld W D L TF PF PA +/− BP Pts
 New Zealand 4 4 0 0 36 240 49 +191 4 20
 France 4 2 0 2 13 124 96 +28 3 11
 Tonga 4 2 0 2 7 80 98 −18 1 9
 Canada 4 1 1 2 9 82 168 −86 0 6
 Japan 4 0 1 3 8 69 184 −115 0 2
Opponent Result Knockout stage Opponent Result
 England 19–12 Quarter-finals  Argentina 33–10
 Wales 9–8 Semi-finals  Australia 20–6

Match summary[edit]

Choice of colours[edit]

France won the toss for choice of colours ahead of the final at Eden Park but agreed to play in white shirts (their change colours) as a mark of respect for New Zealand and the organisation of the tournament.[4]

Haka and French response[edit]

After the national anthems, the New Zealand players performed their traditional haka as the French team stared back and then advanced towards them in a V-shaped formation before fanning out into a straight line.[5] The French had decided to meet the haka in this fashion on Sunday morning, and French captain Thierry Dusautoir stated that "it was a great moment".[6] They were later fined £2,500 by the IRB for crossing the half-way line,[7] a decision that was labeled "pedantic" and the "final insult".[8]

First half[edit]

In a match of "grim physical attrition",[9] New Zealand scored first. From a line-out in the French 22, Tony Woodcock received the ball and broke through a hole in the French defence to score his first try of the World Cup. Piri Weepu, who had already missed a penalty kick, failed with his conversion effort. Weepu missed another attempt in the 25th minute.[10] Nine minutes later, New Zealand's Aaron Cruden, the team's third choice fly-half, only playing due to injuries to Dan Carter and Colin Slade, hyper-extended his knee, and was replaced by Stephen Donald.[11] The French were forced to defend stoically for much of the first half, due to New Zealand playing a good running game, but late in the half François Trinh-Duc missed a drop goal attempt and had a run to the line cut off by Weepu.[10]

Second half[edit]

French captain Thierry Dusautoir was named man of the match.

The French came back into the game in the second half, although it did not begin well for them: Dimitri Yachvili missed the team's first penalty attempt after two minutes, and Stephen Donald pushed New Zealand further into the lead by successfully kicking a penalty two minutes later. The French reacted straight away: Trinh-Duc made a run towards the line, and after several attempts, Dusautoir scored a try, which Trinh-Duc converted to take the score to 8–7. Trinh-Duc attempted a penalty kick from 48 metres in the 65th minute, but missed the goal, and thereafter there were few chances for either side.[10] The French captain, Dusautoir, who was described as "enjoying a heroic game in defence" by The Daily Telegraph‍ '​s Brendan Gallagher, was named man of the match.[12]

Another historic milestone occurred when Jean-Marc Doussain came on as a late substitute for France. He became the first player ever to make his Test debut in a Rugby World Cup Final.[13]

Match details[edit]

23 October 2011
21:00 NZDT (UTC+13)
France  7–8  New Zealand
Try: Dusautoir 47' c
Con: Trinh-Duc (1/1)
Report Try: Woodcock 15' m
Pen: Donald (1/1) 46'
Eden Park, Auckland
Attendance: 61,079[14]
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
New Zealand
FB 15 Maxime Médard
RW 14 Vincent Clerc Substituted off 46'
OC 13 Aurélien Rougerie
IC 12 Maxime Mermoz
LW 11 Alexis Palisson
FH 10 Morgan Parra Sent to blood bin 12' to 18' Substituted off 23'
SH 9 Dimitri Yachvili Substituted off 76'
N8 8 Imanol Harinordoquy
OF 6 Thierry Dusautoir (c)
BF 7 Julien Bonnaire
RL 5 Lionel Nallet
LL 4 Pascal Papé Substituted off 70'
TP 3 Nicolas Mas
HK 2 William Servat Substituted off 65'
LP 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux Substituted off 65'
HK 16 Dimitri Szarzewski Substituted in 65'
PR 17 Fabien Barcella Substituted in 65'
LK 18 Julien Pierre Substituted in 70'
FL 19 Fulgence Ouedraogo
SH 20 Jean-Marc Doussain Substituted in 76'
FH 21 Francois Trinh-Duc Substituted in 12' Substituted off 18' Substituted in 23'
FB 22 Damien Traille Substituted in 46'
France Marc Lièvremont
France vs New Zealand 2011-10-23.svg
FB 15 Israel Dagg
RW 14 Cory Jane
OC 13 Conrad Smith
IC 12 Ma'a Nonu Substituted off 76'
LW 11 Richard Kahui
FH 10 Aaron Cruden Substituted off 34'
SH 9 Piri Weepu Substituted off 50'
N8 8 Kieran Read
OF 7 Richie McCaw (c)
BF 6 Jerome Kaino
RL 5 Sam Whitelock Substituted off 49'
LL 4 Brad Thorn
TP 3 Owen Franks
HK 2 Keven Mealamu Substituted off 49'
LP 1 Tony Woodcock
HK 16 Andrew Hore Substituted in 49'
PR 17 Ben Franks
LK 18 Ali Williams Substituted in 49'
FL 19 Adam Thomson
SH 20 Andy Ellis Substituted in 50'
FH 21 Stephen Donald Substituted in 34'
CE 22 Sonny Bill Williams Substituted in 76'
New Zealand Graham Henry

Man of the Match:
Thierry Dusautoir (France)

Touch judges:
Alain Rolland (Ireland)[15]
Nigel Owens (Wales)[15]
Television match official:
Giulio de Santis (Italy)[15]


New Zealand France
Tries 1 1
Conversions 0 1
1(3) 0(2)
Drop goals
0(0) 0(1)
(7/0) (6/0)
(14/2) (15/2)
Turnovers 3 4
(111/120) (87/97)
Line breaks 2 2
Possession 45% 55%
Territory 45% 55%
Time in opp. 22 4'34" 6'35"
(3/2/1) (7/3/0)
Possession kicked
(in play/touch/errors)
1 2
Penalties conceded 7 10
Replacements 5 7
Yellow cards 0 0
Red cards 0 0
Reference: IRB[16]


Craig Joubert's refereeing was heavily criticised by the French team[17][18][19][20] but also by many international observers:[21][22] "ignoring offside play and breakdown indiscretions that should have cost the home team penalties" according to Australia's Sydney Morning Herald Greg Growden,[23] he "refereed France but not the All Blacks",[24] "infuriating even neutrals" according to UK's The Guardian .[25]

In Ireland, The Irish Independent stated laconically that "France were significantly better over 80 minutes" and "Craig Joubert did not referee evenly" and "some of the decisions were disgraceful for a game of this magnitude",[26] while Setanta Sports produced a video analysis of what they called a "unbelievable", "shamefull performance from Joubert",[27] concluding "the world cup was decided on non-refereeing decisions".

Richie McCaw and New Zealand coach Graham Henry pointed out that New Zealand had deliberately tried to play the game in a way that did not result in them conceding penalties, especially in the second half.[28] [29] Additionally video footage was later published of a French player Aurélien Rougerie deliberately gouging at McCaw's eyes which should have resulted in a penalty (and possibly even further action against Rougerie) however it was not penalised by Joubert who allowed the game to continue. [30] McCaw expressed surprise that Rougerie was not cited by the IRB for his actions and noted that the final became "filthy" as it went on but made no mention of Joubert or his performance. [31]


In July 2013, it was announced that a made for TV movie, to be called "The Kick", would be made.[32] The telemovie focused on Stephen Donald, and his successful penalty kick early in the second half that ultimately provided the winning points. Donald had been unwanted for the All Blacks squad prior to the final, due to some previous poor international performances. However, injuries to Carter, Slade (both earlier in the tournament), Cruden and Weepu led to the opportunity for a "charming story of redemption".[33] David de Lautour was cast as Donald,[34] and the telemovie screened on New Zealand television Sunday night, August 10th 2014.[35] Just prior to the screening, Donald talked to media about the abuse that fans directed at him following the 2010 Hong Kong match in which several errors allowed the Wallablies to steal a late victory. [36]


  1. ^ "Craig Joubert to referee New Zealand v France final ahead of Alain Rolland". Daily Telegraph (London). 18 October 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "New Zealand an overwhelming favorite to win Rugby World Cup". The Washington Post. October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Harinordoquy admits to French uprising". ESPN Scrum. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "N. Zealand granted French leave for All Black final". Times of Malta. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Jenkins, Graham (23 October 2011). "All Blacks edge out France for World Cup glory". ESPNscrum. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Georgina (26 October 2011). "Too much hoopla over haka: All Black great". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  7. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (25 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup 2011: France fined for advancing on New Zealand's haka before final kick-off". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "World media call France haka fine 'final insult'". 26 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  9. ^ McMorran, Steve (23 October 2011). "New Zealand win Rugby World Cup". The Independent (London). Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c "All Blacks survive scare to clinch Cup". International Rugby Board. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "2011 Rugby World Cup final: New Zealand 8-7 France". BBC Sport. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Gallagher, Brendan (23 October 2011). "Rugby World Cup 2011: New Zealand 8 France 7: match report". telegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "First for Juniors at RWC 2011" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 1 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Kilpatrick, Mike (October 2011). "World Cup Glory for the All Blacks". Yahoo. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c "23 October 2011 - 21:00, Eden Park, Auckland". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "2011 Rugby World Cup Final: Match Stats". International Rugby Board. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "L'incompréhension (in French)". L'Equipe. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Les Bleus frustrés par l'arbitrage (in French)". Le Figaro. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Furious French hit out at Craig Joubert". ESPN Scrum. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  20. ^ "French Media: Les Bleus feel robbed". TVNZ. 2 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "All Blacks emerge from the trenches smiling". London Evening Standard. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "Sad kiss for Bill from French hero". Johannesburg Times. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  23. ^ "Long dark clouds lifts as All Blacks close the door on 24 years of pain". Sydney Morning Herald. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  24. ^ Butler, Eddie (23 October 2011). "All Blacks aristocrats survive French revolution". Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  25. ^ Williams, Richard (23 October 2011). "France lose but gain the respect of the world". Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "A final word from Down Under". Irish Independent. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Refereeing discussion from The Breakdown". Setanta Sports. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  28. ^ McCaw, Richie and McGee, Greg, The Open Side published Hachette New Zealand Ltd
  29. ^ Howitt, Bob, Graham Henry: The Final World published Harper Collins Limited
  30. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FQkwYfqDnU
  31. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/richie-mccaw-breaks-silence-on-eye-gouge-20111206-1og0j.html
  32. ^ "Movie planned on Donald's winning kick". Radio New Zealand. Archived from the original on 13 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  33. ^ "Donald's heroic kick to be made into movie". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  34. ^ "Actor to play Stephen Donald revealed". stuff.co.nz. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "The Kick - So bad it's good, or just bad?". stuff.co.nz. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  36. ^ "ABs' Stephen Donald opens up on public abuse". stuff.co.nz. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.